Today’s labour market challenges demand that we share tools, expertise and know-how, and provide complementary services to unemployed people and corporates. The Department of Labour (DoL) through the Public Employment Services (PES) has over the years built a comprehensive data base of work seekers across all work disciplines. The task of matching work seekers to available work opportunities has been identified as the key delivery platform.
The Minister of Labour, Mrs Mildred Oliphant, will introduce the concept of a Jobs Fair as a first step towards building a working relationship with social partners and providing a link between work seekers and potential job opportunities.
The inaugural event is being held in the Eastern Cape and held in conjunction with national and provincial sister departments including the Economic Development, Rural Development and Land Reform, Transport and a number of state owned and private companies including Transnet, Eskom, South African Safety and Maritime Authority of South Africa (SAMSA), the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and multilateral organisations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The country’s unemployed rate has gone up to over 25 percent.
“Behind the statistics are real persons whose lives are not fulfilled. These people cannot feed or clothe their children, send them to school, cannot afford some of the most basic needs that many of us take for granted,” said Minister Oliphant adding that this was just one of the reasons why the department is spearheading this initiative.
Oliphant said the Job Fairs are some of the range of initiatives being rolled out within the ambit of Public Employment Services as part of the Department of Labour’s contribution Government service delivery outcome that of: “Decent employment through inclusive economic growth”.
PES is a directorate created by DoL as part of Government’s effort to play an active role to assist the unemployed to find work and skills development opportunities, and act as a conduit by employers to find employees. The business unit (PES) uses electronic system, called the Employment Services system of South Africa (ESSA) to ensure that job-matching happens efficiently.
The first in a series of provincial Job Fairs will start with a two-day event on June 7-8 at the International Conference Centre (ICC) East London, Eastern Cape and will be opened by the premier Noxolo Kiviet. The rollout will reach the highest point with an official National Job Summit/Fair on July 7&8 in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal.
The main purpose of the Job Fairs will be to provide free services to create an opportunity for workseekers to meet with prospective employers and other organisations or departments that can assist with their placement in different forms of employment or learning opportunities. The Fairs will take the form of a Summit that will run parallel with an exhibition and, there will be close interaction between prospective employers and employees.
Various organisations will present careers and other placement opportunities to work seekers, employment counseling, job search tools and assessments.
The DoL will also be working closely with its public entities such as the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the Compensation Fund, and Productivity SA – whose mandate and investments are now geared towards job creation.
The Job Fair target group(s) will include:
- Workseekers from community constituency sharing how the Department helped them to access employment opportunities in government or in the private sector;
- ·A selection of employers/business sharing how they have benefited from the services of the Department of Labour through accessing free recruitment and selection services in their process of employing competent staff for their business.
- Labour movement will also be given an opportunity to provide their input on the benefits of employment services
- A selection of government departments that will add their voice to those who have used the Public Employment Services to provide access to employment for the registered unemployed.
- Sector Education and Training Authority will also be provided an opportunity to share in their available learnership opportunities and encourage the unemployed to take up available opportunities.
So serious is the unemployment situation especially that of youth that the International Labour Organisation Director-General Juan Somavia said this had reached unprecedented level and that calls for a new policy paradigm to promote inclusive job-rich growth for the almost 75 million unemployed youth aged 15-24 worldwide.
The ILO has warned that this situation risks creating a “lost generation” and is a threat to social cohesion.